“I teach you to be warriors in the garden so you will never be gardeners in the war. I give you the strength to fight, but you all must learn the strength of restraint.”

“When your opponent has no honor, you must fight in different ways, smarter ways.”

Many bookstagram reviews of this international bestselling YA Fantasy all put the first quote without its accompanying second sentence on strength. This sentence cautions restraint, without it things can go wrong. Gosh! I’m enchanted by this novel. The last time I read fantasy that resonated this much with me was with Georgina Kincaid and her Succubus series by Richelle Mead and Carter and Sade Kane of the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan  I dropped reading A Thousand Beginnings and Endings and Meet Cute (Young Adult Fiction collections) to read Children of Blood and Bone during the last week of July. I’d wanted to read some different after a long stressful day.

If you peer closely you’ll see small drops of ogogoro in my mini mug. I sipped that shot like Zelie in celebration of the victorious last sentences.

A world of magical wonders and brutal realities..Orisha. The narrative introduces one to the new Orisha where magic is missing and Zelie’s biggest worries include passing initiation and taxes. The old Orisha had Majis who were white-haired, Orisha Mama’s magic blessed, children of blood and bone. It’s amazing the fantasy woven around the Orisha gods was inspired by Yoruba deities. I kept nodding to the various magical powers each maji clan possessed from their sister goddesses and brother gods. Reapers who summoned souls, Tiders and Yemoja, Burners who blazed fiery, Healers and Cancer, and Seers. When various characters touch with a magic scroll it sparks magic in Divîners and Kosidans alike. You can take a quiz to find out which clan you belong to here.

This heroine’s narrations are shadowed by fearful memories of her mother’s execution and past beauties of magical Orisha. I was always pulled away from these to her meagre existence. Yet Zelie had a strong drive for survival and freedom. Zelie is impulsive, silver-eyed beauty, gifted Reaper, smart, seasoned trader, skilled fighter, leader and compassionate heroine. Amari and Inan, both children of the tyrant king narrate the plot with Zelie on a quest to return magic to Orisha. One of the beautiful things about these characters describing the plot and other characters were their unique personas. Growth of Zelie, Amari and Inan occurred slowly throughout the novel. Amari, the scared Princess grew bravely to be the Lionaire. Inan, Little Prince who sacrificed everything to be everything his cruel father wanted. He struggled with his sense of duty and being himself. Tzain, Mama Agba, Kaea, Nailah, Zu, Baba, Roën and other minor characters play huge supporting roles in this tumultuous quest. I was sad that Amari and Tzain’s budding romance was halted while Zelie and Inan’s passionate one was fervently frustrated. But I remain a hopeful romantic while waiting for a sequel. 

Children of Blood and Bone mirrors a lot of real life issues we face in our societies like police brutality, racial or ethnic discrimination, gradual loss of culture, poverty and political tyranny. This mirror holds the themes and lessons one can learn from the novel. It’s robust plot was hijacked by plot twists, suspense and intrigue. CBB is written in simple English with Yoruba phrases and coined terms. Irony was one of literary techniques expertly utilised in this fantasy. Flashback and character dialogues were used to fill in the plot. Simile and imagery are two literary techniques artistically employed in this novel, (eg. the light’s voice is smooth like silk, soft like velvet. It wraps itself around my form, drawing me to it’s warmth). I found it ironic the King destroyed other families and his children while avenging his dead family. Another major irony was that Zelie hungered for change but was afraid of the possibilities magic could create. Out of the Eighty-five chapters my favourite chapter was Fifty-seven (plus the Epilogue of course). This chapter’s festivities and pet Lionaire Nailah inspired by book photo. Coincidentally it’s the author’s favourite chapter.

Landscape and animals in Orisha are nothing like anything I’ve read. Blue whisked bee-eaters, large panthonaires, snow leopanaires, stalking hyenaire. A map of Orisha is presented before the first chapter began. I enjoyed that the plot took us around that map and Orisha’s interesting landscape. It’s a highly recommended African Fantasy and YA Fiction book. For its plot twists resolutions and unexpected end of the last battle, four and a half fireworks! Did they succeed in bringing back magic? Did tyrant King Saran and his reign end? You’ll have to read to find out. To see more gorgeous book pictures or fan art click #childrenofbloodandbone.


More Info..

Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian American writer and creative writing coach. Children of Blood and Bone is her first novel. Published in 2017 by Henry Holt and Company, a trademark of Macmillian Publishing Group LLC.

*this is a Flashback Friday Fiction feature review.*




Reading List Update

It’s the 15th, half way through June and I’m staring at my June reading list. I’m staring, wondering how I hoped to read all those (e)books. *deep sigh. Talk about unrealistic goals. I have spent the past few days reading a literary magazine, Bookstagram poems and began a novel not on my list. I enjoyed reading the magazine as expressed here.

It isn’t just the number of books on my list but the idea of a list itself. I decided to try curating a reading list that will help me achieve my 2018 reading goals. Usually, I read at random (with my reading goals as a guide) then share my thoughts. Sometimes being occupied with my Law degree affects my literature reading. I read tons of statutes, cases, reviews, articles, journals, textbooks on Law. It has been difficult sticking to the list because I seemed to have lost interest in some books on the list. Weird. Plus I noticed I have spent days ignoring my current read, The Last Days At Forcados High School. Maybe because it reminds me of the misadventures of my scandalous secondary school set mates and my reserved self.

Now I understand why some bookstagrammers had 3-7 books on their lists. Initially I chose a list based on how comfortable I was and my reading habits. Now that my interest in some books have dwindled. Proactive determination, honesty and simple Book Lust is making me update my June reading list.

Updated Reading List

The Last Days at Forcados High School by A.H Mohammed,

read* Saraba Issue 22-OPEN,

         read* Saraba Issue 7-Displacement,

                    read* Saraba Issue 11- SEX,

comic* Avonome by Comic Republic,

comic* Hero Kekere (Issues 2,4,5,6) by Comic Republic,

ebook* Diary of A Crush by Sarra Manning,

Garri For Breakfast by Seun Lari-Williams.

Hopefully these will keep me out of books marked to be read in July. How is your reading this month going? Do comment to let me know.


Musings of a Tangled Tongue


Musings Of A Tangled Tongue By Yemi Adesanya


because in our walking in the shoes of a writer through reading, we experiences something different, something new, that may call attention to yet undiscovered parts of our humanity”– Kola Tubosun wrote amidst his slightly lengthy Foreword of this excellent collection of poems.

A friend who saw the book with me asked what its title meant. Then I said, ‘thoughts from someone trying to say a lot’. But after typing, erasing and typing my own description of this collection. I realised my tongue got tangled while describing this collection of thoughts. I found this collection to be a delicious mix of engaging, mischievous, bold, well written and fun commentaries about contemporary life. This book lived from my handbags to my book stacks through January to February. Yet I haven’t finished beginning new daring and stimulating poems.

This is one of my favourite book photos from January.



Below I share my favourite poems, titles, lines, stanzas and thoughts from February.

Bless This Day is my fav favie favourite poem so far! It has seven stanzas that bless, aptly describe and tell me about the personality of every day of the week. I plan on framing it.

Special Characters uses imagery and personification  to gossip about special characters.

‘Awaken from a Comma,

As someone shouted: “His Colon is on fire!”

Saved by a timely Exclamation!

Now he’s gotta live with a Semicolon;

Slayed by a Muse: I had to reread this poem a few times to understand it.  It’s first stanza starts with dope imagery and metaphor, ‘Once upon a heart beating oxygen rich lines. Valves of words and arteries of rhymes.’ This poem tells the story of the death of a mysterious persona. I was left to muse on how the drunk girl in stanza two was related to the murder continued in stanza three. Or was this poem just a poetic description of a creative overly inspired by a deadly muse? I’m still pondering.

Was Born in Sin: The persona in this short poem  does not confess but shares difficulties every believer faces without pretense. The last lines of both stanzas were written in Pidgin English. I could only say Shey? and Amen o!

Mind Mirage’s four stanzas were laced with lovely oxymoron and witty satire.

‘clean face, dirty mind

You look so good,

But smell one kind’

The second stanza brought an old roommate to mind ‘..You buy so much, But dress so razz’ and the fourth stanza aptly critics some men.

Snoring Is The Devil’s Chorus, I love the title of this poem. It was short, witty and ended with a sarcastic pleading. ‘Snoring is death, it’s the devil’s chorus; That’s not music, please sing a new tune’ The use of repetition, metaphor, simile, alliteration and imagery made the poem come alive. ‘Heartstorm rhymes like blunt knives.’

I found Evolution fascinating. The use of repetition didn’t stop the various stanzas from telling different  vivid, metaphorical tales. I love the third stanza; ‘In the beginning was a spark. With another, a flame. Burned by a game. And drained by his sport. Not a matter for court. Snack for a city shark’. What sport? I asked, Oscar of SA maybe? A spark ..a flame? I thought. Sport betting debts gotten him burned to death!

Hallelujah! The rhythm of this lengthy poem had me humming to Leonard Cohen’s hit Hallelujah tune.

McHunger was not on my list of fascinating or favourite poems. But when an online exercise asked what the first sentence on pg 15 of the book beside me was. I picked up M.O.A.T.T and flipped to page 15. I read the two lines and texted, ‘I shiver, but not from cold’. This is still my favourite line from this poem.

Seeing this title got me curious about what story Ailing Soul would tell me. The following lines from various four stanzas caught my eyes. ‘Live! Dont marinate your young soul’. ‘Fasting won’t matter if joy never comes. Life is what you make of its tick and tock.’

In No Kidding a mother tells me how to raise a forward, forthright and diligent being. Captivating poem about home training and motherly love.

Echoes from a Buried Ballad, Life on its Glide and Death Left You a Note are titles that powerfully used personification. I could reread these titles all day.

This collection has made a poetry lover out of me. With different personas sharing captivating or downright mischievous tales through the poet’s exquisite use of literary technique. As I continue reading, I anticipate more wondrous poems to fall in love with in March.

image source: amethystsaw